It's official: Christina Baldwin, who has served as the Jungle Theater's acting artistic director since the departure of Sarah Rasmussen last spring, is now the Minneapolis company's artistic director.
And, although no show has been on the Jungle's stage since the pandemic forced the postponement of "Redwood" the day before opening last March, a lot has been happening.
The set of "Redwood" still stands on the Jungle stage, and Baldwin said that production remains the theater's first priority, though no one's sure when it will be safe and financially feasible to produce it.
"We were hoping for fall, but we're a very small theater and to operate at half-capacity gives us quite a small audience. We also have to consider the energy actors are going to need," said Baldwin, an actor/director/writer herself who has appeared on virtually every Twin Cities stage, including the Jungle, Guthrie Theater and Park Square.
There will be a Jungle stage of a kind this summer — outdoors, on the back side of the Lyndale Avenue venue, during the LynLake Street Art festival. And, even without live shows, work continues.
"We're starting a truth and reconciliation panel, working with an equity and justice consultant, learning more about how the Jungle has failed, how we've succeeded, what people want for the future and how they envision coming back," said Baldwin, who cited the nationwide We See You White American Theater movement as an inspiration.
"We've had a long time of not doing [theater], to realize the things that were harmful and to be able to have some great discussion. There are people I know who have a lot to say and could help us shape a better future for the arts in the Twin Cities."
In addition to Baldwin and managing director Robin Gillette, the Jungle's future will be guided by a new "artistic cohort," three or four theatermakers chosen to be part of all decision-making at the Jungle and to have its support for their own projects.
Before stepping into her new role, Baldwin served as artistic associate to Rasmussen, who led the Jungle for five years before leaving to become artistic director of the multistage McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J.
Chris Hewitt • 612-673-4367